arm}" on Russian soil was never allowed to come into being. Thus the
policy of both parties was neither common nor conducted on parallel lines.
The policy of Poland under Piisudski's regime had been based on the
principle that Poland, united with her smaller neighbours and endangered
to the same extent by both Germany and Russia, must maintain a balance
between these two Powers. She had no other choice, for to unite with
either was self-destruction. Union with an imperialist Power has ever
meant that the weaker party is predestined to a slavery and death as a state
and nation. But the basic thesis of Pilsudski's policy was not realised for
Poland, during the short time at her disposal (18 years in all), had been
unable to arm her neutrality powerfully and gather allies around her by
whose aid she might have been able to survive the blows which could
fall from the West or East.
Contrary to Pilsudski, Sikorski belonged to those who thought Poland
should depend on one of her stronger neighbours and during the First
Great War had leaned towards Austria in this respect, but after the collapse
of Poland in 1939, he was prepared to admit that it should now be Russia.
cc Poland in her geographical position," he declared Cf cannot have two
enemies, and she must smooth over her historical argument into good
neighbourliness with one of them. And, since Germany wasa and will be,
the mortal enemy of the Polish people, and will endeavour to exterminate
them, biologically, economically and culturally, the Polish-Russian relations
must be based on a firm and sincere understanding, which would, at the
same time, take into account the essential interests^ honour and rights of
the Polish people."*
" So, imbued with the spirit of political realism, the Polish Government"
declared Sikorski at the opening of the National Council in London on
February 24, 1942, " was the first to stretch out the hand of friendship
to Soviet Russia." The main weakness in Sikorski's interpretation of
the Russian policy lay in the fact that neither Tsarist Russia nor
Soviet Russia had at any time sincerely wished to take into consideration
" the essential interests* honour and rights of the Polish people/' but, as
an imperialist Power, perpetually endeavoured to subordinate them.
At the^end of the eighteenth century, Poland had witnessed the growth of
despotic Powers on both her frontiers. Seeking for the best way to survive,
three groups of political thought emerged. One wished to seek the support
of the Tsar of Russia, the second of the Prussian king, while the third party
pinned its faith exclusively on the strength of Poland, She should stand
alone ! The first two groups emphasised the fact that they were following
a c policy of realism/ because of the might of their neighbours and that
Poland must lean on one of them. But it was through the policy of the third,
which pierced beyond the mist of the actual period, that the Polish nation
was able to survive throughout the dark century of occupation; when, as
Joseph Conrad wrote, " Polish nationality was not so much alive as sur-
viving, which persisted in thinking, breathing, speaking, hoping and suffering
* "Testament polityczny Sikorskiego" (SikorskTs Political Testament),
Daennik Polski, October 1st, 1943.